The Trump-Bolton Misdirection on Russian Extradition: Plenty of Legal Options Exist to Gain Custody of Russian Suspects

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New York University School of Law




On Sunday, President Donald Trump stated he “hadn’t thought of” pressing Vladimir Putin to extradite the dozen Russian nationals indicted earlier that week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. When asked why not, National Security Adviser John Bolton gave a response that sounded legalistic: it would be “pretty silly” for President Trump to request the Russian fugitives’ extradition, he contended, because the United States lacks an extradition treaty with Russia and Russian law forbids extradition of its own nationals. Both should know better. Their comments suggest not that the Administration lacks legal options, but that it has no political will to seriously seek custody of the Russian fugitives.

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